Saturday, March 10, 2012

GLOBAL ALERT: Major Solar Flare - Massive Sunspot 1429 Unleashes X5 Class Solar Flares; One of the Strongest Yet; Coronal Mass Ejection Bombards Earth's Magnetic Field; One of the Biggest Solar Storms in Years! UPDATE: "Geomagnetic Unrest" in Progress - Sunspot 1429 Unleashes M6.3 Solar Flare and Another CME Heading For Earth! UPDATE: CME Produces Monster Tsunami - 100,000 km High, Speed of 250 km/s with 2 Million TNT Megatons! UPDATE: Sunspot 1429 Produces Powerful M8-Class Flare!

According to Space Weather , the massive sunspot 1429 unleashed a major Earth-directed X-class solar flare, as a solar wind stream flowing out of a coronal hole could reach Earth as early as March 8-9.

CME IMPACT: A coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth's magnetic field on March 7th at approximately 0400 UT. The impact was not a strong one, but it could stir up polar geomagnetic storms anyway. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. MAJOR SOLAR FLARE: Big sunspot AR1429 has unleashed another major flare. This one is the strongest yet, an X5-class eruption on March 7th at 00:28 UT. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the extreme UV flash. This eruption hurled a bright CME into space. First-look data from STEREO-B are not sufficient to determine if the cloud is heading for Earth. Our best guess is "probably, yes, but not directly toward Earth." A glancing blow to our planet's magnetosphere is possible on March 8th or 9th. Stay tuned for updates. Solar flare alerts: text, phone. - Space Weather.

MAJOR X5.4 SOLAR FLARE: The second strongest solar flare of Cycle 24 in terms of X-Ray Flux, just peaked around Active Sunspot 1429. This major event measured X5.4 at 00:24 UTC and triggered a strong R3 Level Radio Blackout. A coronal mass ejection will likely result and due to the sunspots more geoeffective position, there will be a chance for some sort of impact.  CME UPDATE: A bright Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) is now seen in the new STEREO Behind COR2 images. High energy proton levels are now on the rise and a radiation storm is imminent.  CME IMPACT / GI GEOMAGNETIC STORM: In perhaps another developing story, the Solar Wind is showing a sudden increase from 360 km/s to 440 km/s and the IMF is currently tilting sharply south. This is a glancing blow impact from an earlier CME. A Geomagnetic Sudden Impulse measuring 20 nT was detected at 04:27 UTC. Be on the lookout for Aurora at high latitudes. A G1 Geomagnetic Storm is now in progress (Kp=5). - Solar Ham.
WATCH: Stunning images of the X5 Class Solar Flare.

UPDATE: Volcano / Earthquake Watch March 8-12, 2012!
Targeting Coronal Hole (CH506) with associated solar disturbances and earthbound coronal mass ejections indicate a potential of a strong seismic event in the coming days. After analysis I have isolated (28-36°S Latitude). Solar symmetry to earth indicates best fit regions for a possible 6.7-7.0 Magnitude Earthquake are: Coquimbo-Chile, San Juan-Argentina, Bio Bio-Chile or the Kermadec Islands Region. Likely Time Frame March 8-10. Targeting the southern component of Coronal Hole (CH506) which may indicate strong shaking at higher latitudes. Solar observations indicate a possible 5.2-5.5 magnitude earthquake at (44°S and 55°S Latitude). Solar symmetry to earth indicates best fit regions for a possible 5.5 Magnitude Earthquake are: South Island New Zealand, Aisen Chile and the South Sandwich Islands Region. Time Frame March 8 and 11. Outgoing Longwave Radiation Anomalies this week have strong concentrations over these regions: Australia, Hawaii, Samoa, Argentina, Chile, Madagascar, Nicobar Islands and Andaman Islands India region. - Solar Watcher.
WATCH: Volcano and Quake Analysis for March 8-12.

UPDATE: Geomagnetic Solar Storm In Progress - X5-Class Flare Hits Earth on March 8th, 2012!

GEOMAGNETIC STORM UPDATE: A CME propelled toward Earth by this morning's X5-class solar flare is expected to reach our planet on March 8th at 0625 UT (+/- 7 hr). Analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, who prepared the CME's forecast track, say the impact could spark a strong-to-severe geomagnetic storm. The flare also accelerated energetic protons toward Earth, triggering an S3-class solar radiation storm, in progress. Such a storm is mainly a nuisance to satellites, causing occasional reboots of onboard computers and adding noise to imaging systems. A mild geomagnetic storm is already underway, following a lesser CME impact on March 7th around 0400 UT. Shortly after the cloud arrived, a burst of Northern Lights appeared over the US-Canadian border. Shawn Malone photographed the display from the shores of Lake Superior: "I was lucky to catch this brilliant outburst of aurora activity that was very active for close to an hour," says Malone, who has also made a time-lapse video of the display. "The aurora had no problem shining through the moonlit skies."

More images:
from Eric Frigon of Banff National Park , Alberta, Canada; from John Welling of Ashland,Wisconsin; from Justin Phillips of New Auburn, Wisconsin.
- Space Weather.
WATCH: Geomagnetic storm in progress.

UPDATE: CME Impacts Earth - One the Biggest Solar Storms in Years!
CME IMPACT: A coronal mass ejection (CME) hit Earth's magnetic field on March 8th around 1100 UT. The impact was weaker than expected, sparking only a mild (Kp=5) geomagnetic storm. However, the storm could intensify in the hours ahead depending on electromagnetic conditions in the wake of the CME. High-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras. - Space Weather.

The biggest space weather storm in five years is heading towards Earth and could disrupt power grids, GPS systems, satellites and airline flights, Nasa has warned. In a statement on its website, the US space agency said the storm was caused by two solar flares that erupted on Sunday. Following the flares, two bursts of solar wind and plasma - known as a coronal mass ejection (CME) - were thrust towards Earth."The first is travelling faster than 1,300 miles per second; the second more than 1,100 miles per second," the statement added. The brunt of the storm is expected to last until Friday. A similar storm in January forced Delta airlines to divert flights across the polar regions. "Space weather has gotten very interesting over the past 24 hours," said Joseph Kunches, a space weather scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The solar flares alone caused brief high frequency radio blackouts that have now passed, according to the NOAA. The storm is likely to be "the strongest one since December 2006," Kunches said, despite admitting the Earth experienced a stronger radio blackout last August. "But en masse, if you put it all together with the geomagnetic effects and the solar radiation effects, I would put it on par with one at the end of the last solar cycle, which was over five years ago." - SKY News.

WATCH: Solar could cause disruption on Earth.

UPDATE: Geomagnetic Storm in Progress - Sunspot 1429 Unleashes M6.3 Solar Flare and CME!

CME IMPACT: A widely-reported CME produced by an X5-flare from sunspot AR1429 hit our planet's magnetic field on March 8th. The impact was weaker than expected, producing only a mild geomagnetic storm. Power grids and other sun-sensitive technologies were unaffected. Update: As March 9th unfolds, conditions in the wake of the CME are becoming favorable for stronger geomagnetic storming. HUGE SUNSPOT: Active sunspot AR1429 continues to grow. It is now more than seven times wider than Earth. CHANCE OF FLARES: NOAA forecasters estimate a 40% chance of an X-class solar flare today from big sunspot AR1429. The sunspot is almost directly facing Earth, so any such eruptions should be geoeffective.High-latitude sky watchers should remain alert for auroras as Earth's magnetic field continues to reverberate from the CME impact. Aurora alerts: text, phone.  - Space Weather.
WATCH: M6.3 Solar Flare and Earth-Directed CME

UPDATE: "Geomagnetic Unrest" in Progress - Coronal Mass Ejection Heading For Earth!
ANOTHER CME IS HEADING FOR EARTH: Sunspot AR1429 has unleashed another strong solar flare, an M6-class eruption on March 9th at 0358 UT. The blast hurled a coronal mass ejection (movie) almost directly toward Earth. According to analysts at the Goddard Space Weather Lab, the CME will arrive on March 11th at 0649 UT (+/- 7 hr) adding to the geomagnetic unrest already underway. An animated forecast track shows that the cloud will also hit the Mars Science Lab spacecraft and Mars itself on March 12th and 13th, respectively. Geomagnetic storm alerts: text, phone. AFTERSHOCKS: At first, yesterday's widely-reported CME impact produced little in the way of Earth effects. Eventually, however, a geomagnetic storm did develop as Earth passed through the wake of the CME. Mild to strong geomagnetic storms are underway around the Arctic Circle. - Space Weather.
WATCH: Stunning images of the Sunspot 1429 eruptions.

UPDATE: CME Produces Monster Tsunami - 100,000 km High, Speed of 250 km/s with 2 Million TNT Megatons!
 CME PRODUCES MONSTER TSUNAMI: The same eruption that hurled the CME toward Earth also produced a monsterous tsunami of plasma on the sun. NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the shadowy but powerful wave rippling away from the blast site. The tsumani was about 100,000 km high and raced outward at 250 km/s with a total energy of about 2 million megatons of TNT. Such waves often underlie CMEs like the one en route to Earth now. Animated forecast tracks show that the CME will also hit the Mars Science Lab (MSL) spacecraft on March 12th followed by Mars itself on March 13th. Mars Rover Curiosity onboard MSL might get some interesting readings as the cloud passes by. - Space Weather.
WATCH: Stunning images of the Sunspot 1429 eruptions.

UPDATE: Sunspot 1429 Produces Powerful M8-Class Flare!
WEEKEND SOLAR FLARE: Sunspot AR1429 is still erupting this weekend. On Saturday, March 10th, it produced a powerful M8-class flare that almost crossed the threshold into X-territory. In New Mexico, amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft recorded a series of shortwave bursts emanating from the blast site: audio. Also, the explosion propelled yet another CME toward Earth: forecast track. The cloud is expected to hit our planet's magnetosphere on March 12th around 1800 UT. A CME from an earlier explosion will arrive much sooner, however. - Space Weather.
WATCH: Sunspot 1429 Produces M8.4 Solar Flare and Bright CME!

PLANETARY TREMORS: Seismic Disturbance on the Caribbean Plates - 5.0 Magnitude Earthquake in the Cuba Region Rock Sections of Jamaica!

The Earthquake Unit at the Mona Campus of the University of the West Indies says tremors from a magnitude 5.0 earthquake that occurred in Cuba this morning were felt in several parishes in Jamaica.

This is the second earthquake felt in Jamaica in consecutive days following the 3.4 magnitude quake recorded near Yallahs, St Thomas, yesterday. A release from the unit says this morning’s earthquake occurred at 3:34 and was felt in Clarendon, St Catherine, St Mary and Kingston and St Andrew. There are no reports of any damage or injuries. The epicentre of the earthquake was in the Santiago de Cuba province. - Jamaica Gleaner.

A 4.8 Magnitude earthquake occurred at 03:34: AM this morning, 102 km NNE of Port Maria, Saint Mary, and 140 km (87 miles) NNE (17°) from KINGSTON, Jamaica. The quake was reportedly felt in sections of Kingston, St. Andrew, Portmore and Spanish Town. Residents reported being woken out of bed after feeling houses shaking and the sounds of roofs rattling. A quake with a magnitude of 5.4 had also struck northeastern Japan yesterday, near the zone devastated last year by the massive earthquake and tsunami that triggered a nuclear crisis. The U.S. Geological Survey says yesterday's earthquake struck at 2:25 a.m. local time (1725 GMT) about 24 miles (40 kilometers) north of Mito, the capital of the Ibaraki Prefecture on the main island of Honshu. There were no immediate reports of injuries or damage in the quake. No tsunami warning was issued. Today's quake falls close to the one year anniversary of last years March 11, 2011 quake and tsunami which left more than 21,000 people dead or missing in Japan's Fukushima Prefecture. - Jamaica Observer.

ANCIENT ALIENS: Season 4 - Aliens and the NASA Connection!

The History Channel continues its popular series on extraterrestrials, alien theories and ancient civilizations with season four of Ancient Aliens. The following video playlist constitutes program five, entitled Aliens and the NASA Connection.

NASA scientists, former astronauts and secret government files all point to the conclusion that there has been contact with extraterrestrial life in the past. Researchers examine this and other recent scientific evidence that may provide proof of alien contact in both the recent and ancient past. - History Channel.

WATCH: Part 1 - Ancient Aliens and the NASA Connection

WATCH: Part 2 - Ancient Aliens and the NASA Connection

WATCH: Part 3 - Ancient Aliens and the NASA Connection

MONUMENTAL EARTH CHANGES: NOAA - Fourth Warmest Winter on Record!

We've been remarking over and over about how mild and snowless this winter has been. Now we have the official word on just where the winter of 2011-2012 will rank in history.

Temperature rankings across the U.S. winter 2011-2012: A number of 117 would indicate the winter
was the warmest on record. Conversely, a number 1 would signify the coolest winter on record.
The National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has announced that this was fourth warmest meteorological winter on record across the contiguous United States and the warmest since 1999-2000. (Note: The meteorological winter is December, January and February combined). Only the winters of 1991-1992, 1998-1999, 1999-2000 were warmer. All of this is based on records dating back to 1890s. New Mexico was the only state that had winter temperatures below the 20th century average. The map above shows where this winter ranked in history for each state. A number of 117 indicates the winter was the warmest on record. Conversely, a number 1 would signify the coolest winter on record. As you can see, there are many states that recorded a top 10 (27 total) and a top 5 warmest winter (18 total). States with a top 5 warmest winter: CT, DE, IL, IN, MA, ME, MO, MI, MN, ND, NH, NJ, NY, PA, RI, WI, VT, VA

Cities with a top 10 warmest winter (not a complete list):

Baltimore: 7th warmest Green Bay: 2nd warmest New York: 2nd warmest
Boston: 2nd warmest Hartford: 2nd warmest Providence: 2nd warmest
Chicago: 9th warmest Kansas: 7th warmest St. Louis: 6th warmest
Cleveland: 7th warmest Milwaukee: 5th warmest Washington 3rd warmest
Fargo: warmest on record Minneapolis: 4th warmest

That's the temperature side of the story, so how about we explore the snow (or lack of) and rain winners/losers this winter.  A mild winter equates to a lack of snow. That's just what we've seen in the past three months. According to data from the Rutgers Global Snow Lab, the snow cover extent during the winter was the third smallest in the 46-year satellite record. This is the first winter with below-average snow cover for the country since 2005-2006. Cities that were buried by multiple snowstorms last winter were well below average this season. You can see a few examples for a couple of Midwest and Northeast cities in the table below (Data through March 7).

City Last Season This Season % of Average
Boston 79" 9.2" 25%
Chicago 57" 19.8" 63%
Minneapolis 78.3" 22.1" 50%
New York City 60.9" 7.4" 34%

- The Weather Channel.

MYSTERY: Symbols of an Alien Sky, Man-Made or Natural Phenomena - Unexplained "Phoenix Lights" Explosion Caught Live on News Broadcast!

Phoenix's FOX 10 reporter Andrea Robinson was in the middle of an on-air report when an unexplained, bright white explosion appeared in the distance behind her.

The strange blast was caught on tape and aired live during Robinson's report. At first, news station employees thought the explosion was a transformer. But when FOX 10 checked with local utility providers APS and Salt River Project, they were told no transformers had blown in the area. While the source of the explosion remains a mystery, it comes just before the 15th anniversary of one of the most-famous UFO sightings in recent history.

On March 13, 1997, a cluster of glowing orbs moving in a V-shaped formation was spotted in the skies above Phoenix. That incident was also caught on film. The origin of the light formation has since been endlessly analyzed and debated. Arizona is also home to Travis Walton, who famously claimed to have been abducted by a UFO in 1975. Walton has written a number of books on the subject, and his story was turned into the 1993 film "Fire in the Sky." And while Phoenix officials remain stumped by the strange light explosion, FOX 10 has reached out to the public asking for assistance in explaining exactly what was caught on film. - Yahoo.
WATCH: Mysterious "Phoenix Lights".

GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Popocatepetl Volcano in Mexico Registers 12 Exhalations in the Last 24 Hours!

The drills continue in all the communities surrounding the volcano Popocatepetl, said the director of Civil Protection, Jesus Morales Rodriguez, who said that the drills also permanently in the area.

The state official said they were locking according to the Special Plan Popocatepetl, where they indicated that the performance of the drills are performed at least once every 15 days, at random to participate all communities. And is it mentioned that these actions are taken proactively and keeping the residents of these communities do not know when to develop the simulation to verify the conditions and reaction of those involved. According to the website of the National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED) the light is in phase two, in yellow, so that the conditions of the volcano are normal.

It also discloses that in the last 24 hours, 11:00 hours, Popocatepetl has registered 12 exhalations of low intensity, accompanied by water and gas emissions, without major changes. Because the probability remains moderate exhalations emission of ash and a slight glow seen at night, is recomida the Civil Protection Directorate maintain, radio up to 12 km from the volcano, keep traffic controlled between Santiago and San Pedro Nexapa Xalitzintla via Paso de Cortes. Finally, we asked to keep preventivitos procedures and operational plans, while the public is asked to stay attentive to the official information that is disseminated.
- Sexenio Puebla. [Translated]

EXOPOLITICAL DISCLOSURE: President Eisenhower and Extraterrestrials - Former Pentagon Consultant Claims Three Secret Meetings?!

Former American President Dwight D. Eisenhower had three secret meetings with aliens, a former US government consultant has claimed.

The 34th President of the United States met the extra terrestrials at a remote air base in New Mexico in 1954, according to lecturer and author Timothy Good. Eisenhower and other FBI officials are said to have organised the showdown with the space creatures by sending out 'telepathic messages'.  The two parties finally met up on three separate occasions at the Holloman Air Force base and there were 'many witnesses'. Conspiracy theorists have circulated increased rumours in recent months that the meeting between the Commander-in-Chief and people from another planet took place. But the claims from Mr Good, a former U.S. Congress and Pentagon consultant, are the first to be made publicly by a prominent academic. Speaking on Frank Skinner's BBC2 current affairs show Opinionated, he said that governments around the world have been in regular contact with aliens for many decades. 'Aliens have made both formal and informal contact with thousands of people throughout the world from all walks of life,' he added. Asked why the aliens don't go to somebody 'important' like Barack Obama, he said: 'Well, certainly I can tell you that in 1954, President Eisenhower had three encounters, set up meetings with aliens, which took place at certain Air Force bases including Holloman Air Force base in New Mexico.' He added that there were 'many witnesses'.  Eisenhower, who was president from 1953 to 1961, is known to have had a strong belief in life on other planets.

The former five-star general in the United States Army who commanded the Allied Forces in Europe during the Second World War, was also keen on pushing the U.S. space programme. His meeting with the cosmic life forms is said to have taken place while officials were told that he was on vacation in Palm Springs, California, in February 1954. The initial meeting is supposed to have taken place with aliens who were 'Nordic' in appearance, but the agreement was eventually 'signed' with a race called 'Alien Greys'. Mr Good added: 'We know that up to 90 per cent of all UFO reports can be explained in conventional terms. However, I would say millions of people worldwide have actually seen the real thing.' According to classified documents released by the Ministry of Defence in 2010, Winston Churchill may have ordered a UFO sighting to be kept secret. The UFO was seen over the East Coast of England by an RAF reconnaissance plane returning from a mission in France or Germany towards the end of the war. Churchill is said to have discussed how to deal with UFO sightings with Eisenhower.
- Daily Mail.
 WATCH: "Eisenhower's Secret Meeting with ETs" with Art Campbell and Manuel Kirklin.


GLOBAL VOLCANISM: Increasing Volcanic Unrest at Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia!

According to the recent updates from INGEOMINAS in Colombia on Nevado del Ruiz. The Nevado del Ruiz volcano hasn’t erupted in over 20 years, but the signs are beginning to point towards a potential revival of the volcano.

The crater of Nevado del Ruiz in Colombia seen on March 8, 2012. The area is obviously warm and
INGEOMINAS scientists noticed ash in the crater area as well.
INGEOMINAS scientists were able to do a flyover with the Colombian Air Force and got a number of shots of the summit area. They also reported “ash on the glacier, near the crater rim and on the eastern flank of the same,” likely from a February 22 explosion from Ruiz. The steam plume from the main crater on the day of the flyover was ~1.4 km / 4,500 feet. That same day, a seismic signal of tremor associated with multiple small ash emissions were reported along with an increase in sulfur dioxide emissions. All of these events suggest that Ruiz is seeing heating in the summit area and likely phreatic explosions. The increased sulfur dioxide would additionally suggest new magma in the volcano. The shots of the summit area clearly show steam coming from the crater, although it is doesn’t appear to show any new material in the crater. Shots of the entire summit show ash on some of the snow-covered areas as well.

Most people are familiar with Nevado del Ruiz due to the eruption in 1985 that killed over 23,000 people. That disaster was caused by a lahar (volcanic mudflow) generated by a small eruption from the summit crater melting the abundance ice and snow at the summit. The most recent pictures of the summit area (see below) show that there is plenty of snow to make lahars a very real hazard if Ruiz where to begin to enter a new period of eruption. There aren’t any webcams for Nevado del Ruiz that I can find, but INGEOMINAS does have a webicorder for the volcano. - Erik Klemetti / WIRED.

GLOBAL ECONOMIC CONTAGION: The Euro Zone Crisis - Moody's Declare That Greece Has Defaulted and ISDA Has Declared Greek Bond Credit Event, Provoking Credit Default Swaps!

Derivatives Intelligence (part of Institutional Investor) reports that the International Swaps and Derivatives Association has determined that Greece has triggered a credit event as part of its debt restructuring.

This would provoke credit default swaps—insurance contracts on Greek bonds issued under Greek law—to be paid out. But we don't know why they have this and nobody else does, and we can't confirm. Therefore, we have certain misgivings about the veracity of this report. While everyone expects that this will be the outcome, the report is not currently out.

ISDA's committee met today to discuss the issue, and said it would issue a statement on whether or not a credit event had occurred once Greece formally activated the collective action clauses it recently inserted into its Greek debt issuances. Consensus is that activating the CACs will indeed provoke a credit event, however analysts have been waiting all day for a decision to be published here, to no avail (yet).
UPDATE: Lauren Dobbs, a spokesperson for ISDA in New York denied the veracity of this report in a phone interview with Business Insider. They have yet to make any official announcement on the credit event.

The reporter who composed the story above is now tweeting a screenshot of an ISDA document allegedly confirming a credit event (h/t @LemaSebachthani).
- Business Insider.

Meanwhile, Moody's Investors Service considers Greece to have defaulted per its default definitions. The announcement comes despite Athens reaching a deal with private creditors for a bond exchange that will shave €107 billion from its €350 billion debt.
The agency pointed out that even though 85.8 per cent of the holders of Greek-law bonds had signed to the deal, the exercise of collective action clauses that Athens is applying to its bonds will force the remaining bondholders to participate. Eventually, the overall cost to bondholders, based on the present net value of the debt, will be at least 70 per cent of the investment, Moody's explained. "According to Moody's definitions, this exchange represents a 'distressed exchange,' and therefore a debt default," the US rating firm said. "This is because (i) the exchange amounts to a diminished financial obligation relative to the original obligation, and (ii) the exchange has the effect of allowing Greece to avoid payment default in the future."
Ahead of the debt deal, Moody's had already slashed Greece's credit grade to its lowest level, "C," and so there was no impact on the rating. Moody's pointed out it had already downgraded Greece's sovereign rating to C from Ca on March 2, further to the announcement of the debt exchange proposals. It also said it will re-evaluate the rating to see how the debt write-down and the second bailout package would affect the country’s financial sector. On Friday, Athens announced that it had carved out a crucial bond swap deal with private investors designed to write off more than €100 million of Greek debt. The bondholders agreed to take huge losses, giving up some 74 per cent of the value of their investment. The agreement with private investors was a crucial part of a new bailout from the EU and the IMF aimed at averting a catastrophic default which could plunge the entire eurozone into a deep crisis potentially harming the global economy. Greece is experiencing its worst economic crisis since World War II and has been on the brink of a default with debt equal to 160 per cent of its GDP. - RT.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Eels Invasion - After "Weather Bomb" Hits New Zealand, Huge Eels Have Been Found Swimming in the Streets!

Eels are one of the least attractive of all fish species and are normally found lurking in oceans and rivers.

But when part of New Zealand was hit by a 'weather bomb' recently, a number of eels suddenly sprung up in some surprising locations. Residents in one street in Masterton, Wellington, were left shocked to discover dozens of the slimy creatures swimming in large puddles and gutters in the road.

People could be spotted in the streets attempting to help the eels back into deeper water as a number became stranded on the side of the road. It follows days of appalling weather in the region. Storms of up to 60mph rocked Wellington, bringing down power lines, trees and even forcing boats from their moorings. Speaking to The Dominion Post, fire service central communications shift manager Murray Dunbar said: 'We haven't had a large weather event like this for quite a while.'

The poor weather conditions were caused by a 'weather bomb' , which involved a rapid decrease in air pressure and produces high winds and heavy rain. Other parts of the region were expected to be hit by winds of up to 94 mph. Eels are elongated fish which range in length from 5cms to four metres. There are about 800 different species of the fish, which mostly live in the shallow waters of the sea. - Daily Mail.

PLANETARY TREMORS: The Easter 2010 Earthquake Revealed New Fault Along California's Salton Sea!

Researchers who have been studying the aftermath of the Easter Sunday earthquake of 2010 announced a new fault line has been discovered as a result of the 7.2 temblor.

The earthquake, centered in Mexicali, hit in the afternoon hours on Easter, and was felt through the Palm Springs area and into the Los Angeles and San Diego areas.Seismic researchers said the April 4 event triggered surface movement on several Southern California faults, including a new one near the Salton Sea."Every earthquake is an opportunity for new understanding, but few in recent times have created more distinct new information than the April 4, 2010 Baja quake," said USGS Director Marcia McNutt. "Seismologists and geologists are eager to use the triggered fault movement for unraveling complex stress interactions in the plate boundary region of the Imperial Valley."Of the few dozen faults in the Coachella and Imperial valleys that showed surface movement, only about half were previously known to researchers or mapped.

Of the known faults, the newly observed movement revealed one major fault to be longer than previously known, and another was confirmed to be active.The newly-named Ocotillo Fault, near the town of Ocotillo, was known and suspected to be active, researchers said. The triggered movement -- which shifted 3 inches in both directions-- confirms it is an active fault.The Elsinore Fault, one of three major northwest-trending faults in this part of Southern California, showed triggered movement extending three kilometers (almost 2 miles) to the southeast beyond its previously known extent."It was exciting to identify and map an extensive and complex zone of largely unmapped faults in the Yuha Desert area of California's southern border with Mexico," said CGS geologist Jerry Treiman, adding: "These faults may play a significant role in distributing strain to other major faults in the Salton Trough."Locating and carefully mapping the small surface movements was made more thorough by NASA's high-tech Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic-Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) in concert with traditional field geology methods of traversing almost 200 square miles of terrain on foot, and measuring small gaps and cracks in the ground with fault offsets of only a few millimeters.The previously unknown Yuha Fault displayed some of the largest movements detected, between 50-60 mm (about 2 to 2.5 inches). Displacements in the Brawley Fault Zone, although not as large as movement on the Yuha Fault, were large enough to damage concrete-lined irrigation canals. - KESQ.

ANIMAL BEHAVIOR: Bats Invasion - Colony of Fruit Bats in Northern Australian Town Prompt Disease Warning!

A town in northern Australia has been invaded by more than 250,000 bats, prompting warnings of a potentially fatal disease related to rabies.

The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) warned residents in Katherine to stay away from the fruit bats, which could carry the Australian Bat Lyssavirus. The disease can be transmitted to people if they are bitten or scratched. Authorities have closed down the main sports ground in the town 300 km south of Darwin in the Northern Territory. The colony of fruit bats - little red flying foxes - arrived in the town late last month. In recent days numbers have begun to fall but large numbers continue to roost on the outskirts of town, reports the BBC's Phil Mercer.

The bats could be attracted to the area by native flora, or driven to the area because of habitat destruction or changing climatic conditions, John Burke, a senior wildlife ranger, told the BBC. ''Obviously in the town area there's a lot of exotic plant species that are fruiting and flowering throughout the year,'' he said. ''So it's more like a drive-through, I suppose, a drive-through take-away.'' CDC Director Vicki Krause told Australian media that the virus was carried in bat saliva. Some victims have died but that is rare, our correspondent adds, and a vaccination is available. If bitten, people should wash the wound thoroughly and seek medical attention as soon as possible, Dr Krause said. Vaccinations were effective if given immediately, she added. Experts say the presence of so many flying foxes in the Northern Territory town only takes place two or three times each decade. - BBC.

EXTREME WEATHER: Drought Conditions in Jamaica - National Water Commission Implements Measures to Limit Impact on Customers!

The National Water Commission (NWC) says it is putting measures in place to limit the impact on its customers of the drought now affecting the island.

NWC Corporate Public Relations Manager, Charles Buchanan, said the dry season which began in December, is affecting about 10 per cent of the agency’s 46 water supply systems across the country.

He said measures will be implemented to help customers to cope with disruptions in the system.

Buchanan said efforts will also be made to improve the capacity to share water from least-affected systems to those worst-affected, as well as increased trucking of water to hospitals, health centres and schools.

He said the increase in demand on its systems, especially in rural areas has also contributed to the substantial decline in the yield from NWC sources.

Buchanan said restrictions will also be enforced between 9 p.m. and 4 a.m. on customers served by the Constant Spring, Hope and Mona Water Treatment Plants. - Jamaica Gleaner.